Ray Winstone: 'I didn't pay tax for 20 years'

Ben Arnold

Actor Ray Winstone has admitted that he didn't pay tax for 20 years.

Winstone told the Oxford Union that he had 'no regrets', and that he's consequently worked hard despite being declared bankrupt twice in the 80s.

[Related story: Ray Winstone wanted to play Noah's Ark villain]

It follows recent remarks in an interview with talkSPORT during which he said the country was being 'raped' by high taxes and that he's considered leaving the UK for good.

“I was spending more than what I was earning,” he said. “But I was a young fella. I did not understand the tax law. I did not pay taxes for 20 years. I got away with it.

“I came to a decision. Would I surrender, get on with my life and do something else? Or do you have a deal and come clean and knuckle down and go to work – I made that decision. Thank God I made that decision because I am not bankrupt any more. I worked hard.”

[Related story: HMRC tax helpline labelled 'disgraceful']

But he also told the gathering of students at the Union that they should not fear bankruptcy.

“All it means is, you can't have a business or a bank account. So f****** what? The second time they made me bankrupt, they did it for £28,000, just to make an issue of it,” he said.

“If they had waited two weeks they would have been paid. But I just made the decision that I was not going to go through all that again. It is part of my life. But I have no regrets because that is what makes you a man.”

After Winstone made the remarks about about leaving the country over high taxes - during which he said the taxman was 'taking too much in exchange for too little, I love this country but I’ve had enough' - it was revealed that he uses a legal tax scheme to reduce his payments.

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